Grants for Journalism
Grants for Nonprofits Supporting Journalism in the United States
Looking for the best list of grants for journalism in the United States of America? This compiled list of grants supporting journalism will help you start finding funding for your 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
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Craig Newmark Foundation
Craig Newmark Philanthropies supports public charities that further our priorities of trustworthy journalism, voter protection, women in technology, veterans and military families. Specifically:
- Our trustworthy journalism and information ecosystem priority focuses on efforts that promote an honest press and counter disinformation.
- Our voter protection priority focuses on defending the Fifteenth Amendment. This work includes voter registration, legislation and policy, and improvements to the electoral system.
- Our women in technology priority focuses on national initiatives that are working to solve the gender gap in technology.
- Our vets and military families priority focuses on efforts that help vets and their families from a broad, national perspective. We typically fund local efforts indirectly, via the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
Note: The first step is a letter of inquiry (LOI) – a chance for applicants to present their initial concept. It’s meant to be an easy lift for both the applicant and HU, operating as an initial screen before too much is on the line for anyone. Once submitted, the LOI is reviewed by HU’s team for strategic fit, programmatic goals, and potential impact. If the LOI is approved, the process moves to the Proposal stage.
At HU we are focused on cultivating the conditions that can transform human exploitation and violent conflict to enduring freedom and peace.
To do this, we first strive to understand and analyze the systems, and the various factors within those systems, that contribute to these problems. We use this understanding to support and build thoughtful initiatives that can have a fundamental and sustainable impact over the long term.
Our work may include traditional financial support, but we are also known to use strategic communications, advocacy, network building and direct engagement to achieve the change we seek.
At HU we are focused on building and supporting new approaches to some of the world’s most troubling and persistent human problems.
To do this, we first strive to understand and analyze the systems, and the various factors within those systems, that contribute to these problems. We use this understanding to pursue new solutions, and build and support thoughtful initiatives that can have a fundamental and sustainable impact over the long term.
Our work may include traditional financial support, but we are also known to use strategic communications, advocacy, network building and direct engagement to achieve the change we seek.
- Forced Labor & Human Trafficking
- Peacebuilding & Conflict Transformation
- Public Policy & Government Relations
- Independent Journalism & Media Program
Many of the challenges humanity faces are complex and dynamic, and our work to address these challenges requires deep understanding, collaboration and innovation.
At HU, we devote our resources—both our people and our funds—to catalyzing and incubating promising concepts, demonstrating potential solutions, and supporting the deployment of effective ideas. Grantmaking is one way we pursue those goals, alongside direct programmatic activities, strategic communications, and targeted advocacy.
We consider our grantees our partners. As such, we don’t just write a grant and collect the reports. We want to build strong and impactful relationships with our grantees and to amplify and support their work when possible.
We seek to collaborate with impactful organizations and individuals committed to systemic change, but we do not accept unsolicited requests for funds at this time.
HU generally dedicates between $17M and $18.8M to grants in a calendar year, and last year’s average grant size was $114K. Our funding supports a broad range of institutions, networks, and activities across our strategic initiatives.
Public Welfare Foundation
Advancing a New Vision of Justice
For over seventy years, Public Welfare Foundation has supported efforts to advance justice and opportunity for people in need. Today, our efforts focus on catalyzing a transformative approach to justice that is community-led, restorative, and racially just through investments in criminal justice and youth justice reforms.
Issue Areas: Adult Criminal Justice
Reforms at the edges are no longer enough. PWF is committed to funding new alternatives to the justice system in our targeted jurisdictions.
The scale and severity of America’s criminal justice system is a unique problem unmatched by any other developed nation. This crisis disproportionately impacts people of color, and costs the nation $80 billion annually in law enforcement spending and between $55 and $60 billion in lost annual Gross Domestic Product.
Our country’s over-reliance on mass incarceration is a failed experiment that adversely impacts communities and families, and has no positive effect on public safety. It’s a problem that can, and must, urgently be addressed with effective community alternatives. Community-based programs encourage innovative solutions that meet local priorities, foster collective action, and support new leaders who can spearhead efforts to make their own neighborhoods safer and stronger.
It is time to boldly reimagine our nation’s justice system.
Public Welfare Foundation makes grants primarily to groups that are working in its targeted jurisdictions to:
- Advance the redirection and prioritization of state and local resources toward targeted investments that support system-involved individuals in their communities, through research and strategic thought leadership.
- Reduce state incarceration levels and racial disparities through reforms in sentencing, charging, and supervision policies and procedures.
Addressing our nation’s over incarceration crisis begins with advancing sentencing reforms that decrease state incarceration and reduce racial disparities.
Developing Policies & Procedures that Restore Dignity
Public Welfare Foundation aims to decrease state incarceration and reduce racial disparities through reforms in sentencing, charging, and supervision policies and procedures. We envision a future where unjust, racially-charged sentencing policies and procedures are replaced with effective measures that promote fairness, redemption and restoration.
It’s time to shift power and resources from systems to communities.
Investing in Effective Community-Based Solutions
It is time to move from investing billions of dollars in failed prison models to investing in proven, effective community-based solutions. Research shows there is virtually no relationship between incarceration and crime rates – and that spending time in prison may actually increase the likelihood of a person’s return. By contrast, studies reinforce that local interventions have positive impacts on people and improve community safety.
The solutions to over incarceration lie with those who are most proximate to the issues. Heroes exist in the very neighborhoods that are most often relegated for being riddled with crime and violence. These models need to be resourced and replicated around the country.
Issue Area: Youth Justice
Prison is no place for kids. Investing in effective community-based visions of justice is good for kids, for families, for communities, and for public safety.
Today across the United States, thousands of children – disproportionately youth of color – languish in locked facilities. It is a sober reminder that our nation continues to choose to warehouse our most valuable asset: our children.
Children are too often referred to a punitive criminal justice system for misbehaviors that would more appropriately be handled within families, schools and communities. Despite research showing that incarceration leads to high youth recidivism rates, as well as poor education, employment, and health outcomes, prosecutors and the courts often fail to use alternatives to incarceration that have been shown to be more effective at rehabilitating young people. Youth of color are disproportionately likely to suffer the harms of these failed policies and practices.
There is a better way.
Public Welfare Foundation supports organizations working in its targeted jurisdictions to advance a fair and effective community-based vision of youth justice, with a focus on ending the criminalization and incarceration of youth of color. In particular, the Foundation makes grants to groups working to:
- Advance state policy reforms that dramatically restrict youth incarceration, abandon the youth prison model, and adopt community-based approaches for youth in the juvenile justice system;
- End the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth in the adult criminal justice system; and
- Support innovative strategies to counter structural racism in the youth justice system, with a particular focus on front-end reforms.
Closing Youth Prisons
- Shifting resources from warehousing youth to investing in effective, community-based solutions.
Shifting Funds to Effective Community-Based Models
Given the grave damage incarceration does to youth and families, as well as its abysmal public safety outcomes, communities are calling for an end to the youth prison model. A national movement is advancing to shift resources away from simply warehousing kids and instead investing in communities to provide youth with the tools they need to succeed.
Public Welfare Foundation supports programs that advance state policy reforms to dramatically restrict youth incarceration, abandon the prison model, and adopt community-based approaches for youth in the juvenile justice system.
We don’t need more youth prisons, and we certainly don’t need to put more taxpayer dollars into a failed model. Working with our partners, Public Welfare Foundation is forging a new path forward that empowers communities to provide proven and effective supports for its young people
- Investing in innovative strategies to countering structural racism in the juvenile justice system.
Developing Racially-Just Youth Systems
Pervading our nation’s youth justice systems are gross racial and ethnic inequities that cannot be ignored. Despite similar offense rates across demographic groups, youth of color are more likely than their white peers to be referred to and incarcerated in the juvenile justice system, and to be tried and sentenced as adults.
Public Welfare Foundation supports innovative strategies to counter structural racism in the juvenile justice system, with a particular focus on front-end reforms.
Raising the Age
- Working to end the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth in the adult criminal justice system.
Working to Treat Kids Like Kids
Public Welfare Foundation makes grants to groups who are working to end the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth in the adult criminal justice system.
In the last two decades we have vastly increased scientific knowledge about adolescent brain development. However, in that same time we have accelerated the incarceration of children in direct contravention to what we have learned from the scientific community. Public Welfare Foundation is committed to ensuring that all adolescents and emerging adults are treated in ways that maximize their growth and development to help keep our communities just and safe.
Public Welfare Foundation awards grants to nonprofits that honor the Foundation’s core values of racial equity, economic well-being, and fundamental fairness for all. The Foundation looks for strategic points where its funds can make a significant difference and improve lives through policy and system reform that results in transformative change.
Current focus areas include:
- Organizations developing innovative, transformative approaches to youth and adult criminal justice reform.
- Black-led movement building focused on dismantling the structures that have caused generations of harm to Black people, building power amongst local Black community members and advancing efforts to reinvest in communities.
- Organizations and projects focused on investing in community-based solutions that reduce the over-reliance on mass incarceration
- Reframing the narrative and fostering greater transparency and urgency around the U.S. criminal justice system through storytelling, journalism and other targeted efforts
Grant Types: How We Fund the Work
General Support Grants
General support grants are for day-to-day operating costs or to further the work of your organization. These grants are not earmarked for a particular program or project.
Program or Project Support Grants
Program or project support grants support a specific program or activity of the organization. These are restricted grants and must be used for that program or project.
Special Opportunities Grants
The Special Opportunities Program supports projects reflecting the Foundation’s mission and underlying values. These are one-time only grants that are especially timely and compelling. At times, this kind of grant serves as a laboratory for new ideas.
Cowles Charitable Trust
NOTE: The Trust Board of Trustees meets four times a year in January, April, July and October to consider grant requests. An eligible request that arrives too late for one meeting will be placed on the agenda of the following meeting. Proposals must be received on the following dates to be included in the agendas noted:
December 1 - January agenda
March 1 - April agenda
June 1 - July agenda
September 1 - October agenda
If any of the above dates fall on a weekend or holiday, the proposal must be received the first working day following the published deadline.
Our mission is to continue and further the philanthropic legacy of Gardner Cowles, Jr. and the Cowles family, which includes promotion of education, social justice, health, and the arts.
The Cowles Charitable Trust was first established in 1948 by Gardner “Mike” Cowles, Jr. (1903-1985). Born into the Cowles publishing family of Des Moines, Iowa, Mike was the youngest of Gardner Cowles and Florence Call Cowles’ six children. A newspaper editor and publisher by trade, he was committed to his family’s traditions of responsible, public-spirited, and innovative journalism as well as philanthropy.
Mike always said that his mother, through her liberal social views, humor, and soft-spoken nature, was his greatest influence. One of the first women in Iowa to earn her college degree, Florence Call made philanthropy her life’s work, beginning by establishing a seed savings bank in her living room to help neighboring farmers through the winter. A strong advocate of women’s reproductive rights and family planning, she supported Margaret Sanger’s mission, including bailing her out of jail on more than one occasion.
Mike continued his mother’s legacy of activism and was politically engaged both nationally and internationally. The Cowles family was passionate about civil rights and race relations in 20th century America, as demonstrated not only through their philanthropy but also via their trade. In a 1955 speech detailing what makes a great editor, Mike said:
“The greatest editors I know are just like the greatest educators and are successful for the same reason. They are thoughtful men with scrupulous regard for the truth. They are men who strive to stir the best in the human race, not pander to the worst. They are men who dare to lead, even when the direction is temporarily dangerous and unpopular.”
With his brother John, Mike was co-owner of Cowles Media Company. In 1937, he published the first issue of LOOK, a national picture magazine with roots in Mike’s passion for photojournalism and the journalistic innovations that the brothers had implemented at their newspapers. For Mike, LOOK was a visual tool meant to inspire and open the world to its readers; an instrument meant to facilitate one of his greatest passions: education. Of education, Mike stated in a 1949 speech:
“The only answer to ignorance is education and more education. And I mean more than just the formal education in more and better schools, colleges and universities. I mean more adult education, more public forums, more discussion groups. But above everything else, I mean better newspaper and magazine editing, better news and discussion and debate programs on the radio. And I mean the use of the powerful new medium of television to make people understand and think. Too much thinking nowadays goes on in a bath of noise, because life is so busy, so complex…leaving the common man appallingly confused and misinformed.”
Mike Cowles left to his family a philanthropic legacy that continues to this day. The majority of the Cowles Charitable Trust’s current trustees are Mike’s direct descendants.
For more information on Mike Cowles and the Cowles family, click here.
Park Foundation, Inc.
The Park Foundation was formed in 1966. Its original focus was on education and grant-making in communities where Park Communications had interests. When he died in 1993, Mr. Park bequeathed more than 70 percent of his holdings to the Foundation.
The Foundation is dedicated to the aid and support of education, public broadcasting, environment, and other selected areas of interest to the Park family. Scholarship programs have been established in Mr. Park’s name at the two institutions with which he was so close — Ithaca College and North Carolina State University. The two scholarship programs emphasize academic excellence, leadership, and community service — in keeping with Mr. Park’s values. Public broadcasting is a particularly meaningful recipient of funding because the Foundation had its origin in the world of communications. More recently, the Foundation’s interest in environmental causes has been refined to focus on issues of freshwater, particularly in the eastern United States.
The Foundation supports public interest media that raises awareness of critical environmental, political and social issues to promote a better informed citizenry in the U.S. It supports quality, non-commercial media that is substantive, fair, and accurate. Program priorities include investigative journalism, media policy and public broadcasting.
Supports excellence in reporting on nationally-significant public affairs issues in the U.S. Competitive proposals will show evidence of groundbreaking content employing multi-platform media tools with potential to achieve broad distribution and social impact.
Supports nationally-significant initiatives that promote fair and open media systems and policies in the U.S. The Foundation supports projects that advance universal access to communications, a "neutral" Internet, diverse and independent ownership, public interest media and the future of journalism.
Supports nationally distributed and aired television and radio programming. Preference is given to in-depth, investigative reporting projects that include diverse, public interest voices and perspectives.
Supports a very limited number of small grants to individual documentary projects related to civil society and democracy, environment and animal welfare. Requests for funding greatly exceed available resources and preference is given to projects with wide distribution and community engagement. Prior to submitting a proposal, prospective applicants should contact the Foundation via phone or e-mail to determine appropriate fit. Please be prepared to provide information regarding content and treatment, distribution, outreach, budget, funding sources (and fiscal sponsorship as appropriate).
Media projects are also funded in the Foundation's Environment program.
The Foundation’s Environment Program has two major interests:
- To ensure drinking water is clean, affordable, and accessible, protected and managed as a public necessity; and
- To challenge continued shale gas extraction and infrastructure expansion.
The Foundation supports efforts on a national scale or in New York State that promote: strong and enforced water policies; increased investment in publicly owned and operated water infrastructure; empowerment of communities and individuals to exercise their rights to protect drinking water resources; and reduced consumption of bottled water.
On a limited basis, the Foundation is exploring opportunities to support organizing and advocacy at the national scale to address lead in drinking water.
The Foundation supports statewide efforts in New York that decrease reliance on fossil fuels, particularly natural gas, by challenging the expansion of its infrastructure, including pipelines, compressor stations and new natural gas power plants. The Foundation will also consider requests that will help shift the state’s energy needs away from conventional fossil fuel sources and toward a clean energy system that is accessible, affordable and protective of citizens’ health.
Types of Activities Funded
The Foundation is interested in catalyzing action and is willing to consider diverse approaches that raise awareness and offer solutions to drinking water and energy concerns, including, but not limited to, policy development, advocacy, organizing, and corporate responsibility.
Additionally, the Foundation will consider support for investigative reporting outlets that raise awareness and provide new information on drinking water and shale gas energy issues. Stories may be national in scope, but funding is generally targeted to coverage of issues that are relevant to New York State.
Other environmental grants that cover additional geographic and issue areas are made at the Foundation's initiative and the scope of these interests is separate from these guidelines. Please contact the Foundation for more information.
The Foundation supports nationally-significant efforts to ensure the humane treatment, care and well-being of domestic animals and the protection and conservation of endangered wildlife and wildlife in captivity in the U.S. The program supports innovative, comprehensive, solution-oriented models that lead to systemic change, reduce suffering, and foster a more compassionate society.
- Domestic Animals Support national efforts to reduce the number of homeless companion animals through the development of model high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter services and corresponding public education initiatives. The Foundation also supports public education and advocacy efforts to eradicate animal fighting practices.
- Wildlife supports nationally-significant efforts to advance the protection and conservation of wildlife with an emphasis on policy and advocacy work related to threatened and endangered species. Another specific area of interest is the lifelong care of primates rescued from research laboratories, entertainment and/or the pet trade.
NOTE: Grants for domestic animal shelters and wildlife rescue organizations are made only at the initiative of the Foundation. Unsolicited requests for domestic animal shelters will not be considered.
John Ben Snow Memorial Trust
NOTE: If the proposal meets the stated guidelines and priorities of the Foundation & Memorial Trust, Grant Application instructions will be sent to the applicant.
About The Memorial Trust
In 1975, two years after his death, The John Ben Snow Memorial Trust was established in New York. The four original trustees were a member of the Snow family, a lawyer, a publishing associate and a corporate trustee, the Irving Trust Company, now BNY Mellow N.A.. The current Trustees continue this legacy being well aware of the donor and his beliefs, values and ideals. The John Ben Snow Memorial Trust strategically focuses funding within specific geographic regions of the United States across a range of program areas. They meet once a year, usually in June.
The John Ben Snow Memorial Trust
The Memorial Trust strategically focuses funding within specific geographic regions of the United States across a range of program areas (prioritized below and visually depicted here) while responding to the ever-changing needs of various segments of the population, especially to the needs of youth and people who are disadvantaged economically, emotionally, or physically.
Dating back to the inception of the Trust in 1973, the primary and overarching grant making priority has been and continues to be programs that focus on education.
- Education: This program area targets funds to organizations that provide educational opportunities or academic assistance to individuals who demonstrate an intellectual aptitude and a financial need. Examples include scholarships, fellowships, academic tutoring or counseling, literacy, and journalism.
Secondarily, the Trust considers proposals within the areas of Arts and Culture, Community Initiatives, and Youth Programs. The Trustee’s objective is to extend the primary educational focus by providing funding support within these additional program areas.
- Arts and Culture: This program offers grants that promote arts education and appreciation, particularly for young adults, via the development of educational curriculum and professional instruction including visiting artists and performance support for targeted populations.
- Community Initiatives: This program provides funding for programs or services that directly improve the quality of life within the geographic focus areas that we serve. Examples include support for libraries, food pantries and shelters, and neighborhood revitalization. Generally, the Trust does not seek proposals for health care initiatives or animal welfare programs.
- Youth Programs: This program area offers grants that provide character education or enrichment opportunities via mentoring or after-school programming.
As a third priority, the Trust does consider proposals in the areas of Disabilities and Universal Access, Environmental, and Historic Preservation. As these are not core focus areas, funding is often limited. Priority will be given to proposals with an educational focus.
- Disabilities and Universal Access: This program offers grants to organizations in complying with ADA requirements within their facilities (e.g. elevator, handrails, automatic doors, and ramps) or offering services targeted for individuals with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.
- Environmental: This program provides funds for organizations that strive to protect strategic parcels of land and bodies of water as well as programs that educate the general public on key environmental issues such as conservation and water management.
- Historic Preservation: This program provides funding for organizations that preserve historical artifacts (e.g. sites, structures, objects) and accounts (e.g. events), and educate the greater community on their significance. Examples include museums, historical societies and educational programming.